May 17, 2020

The Mayo Clinic is set to lay off up to 400 medical transcriptionists

Technology
healthcare services
USA
healthcare services
Catherine Sturman
2 min
transcription (Getty Images)
A non-profit organisation dedicated to providing a 360-degree approach to patient care, The Mayo Clinic has recently informed up to 400 medical transcri...

A non-profit organisation dedicated to providing a 360-degree approach to patient care, The Mayo Clinic has recently informed up to 400 medical transcriptionists that they will be offered buy out packages as a result of laying off its transcription workforce.

The implementation of new digital tools and systems is revolutionising the workforce, and the medical transcription sector is no exception. Amazon has launched its Amazon Transcribe service for Amazon Web Services (AWS), whereas start-ups such as Tetra, Trint, and many others are seeking to disrupt a service which has been in demand for decades.

Nonetheless, The Mayo Clinic has been transforming its electronic health record (EHR) systems in a bid to deliver patient care which is increasingly connected. From implementing its new health system in Wisconsin and Minnesota, the new system is set to go live in Rochester next month, and then onto Florida and Arizona, Healthcare Dive has reported.

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“Mayo Clinic is therefore looking at ways to manage the transcription workforce, which is why we offered this voluntary separation package to all transcription staff who may be interested in leaving Mayo Clinic and/or pursuing other opportunities,” explained Roshy Didehan, chair of practice administration at The Mayo Clinic.

“We do not yet know how many will choose this option, nor do we yet know the longer-term reductions in transcription volumes.”

Whilst laying off staff will reduce ongoing labour costs; the use of new technologies will provide a multitude of advantages across the clinic’s 20 hospitals and boost annual revenue. The implementation of its new EHR system will incorporate the use of a voice transcribing application, and will replace three previous systems, utilised under the clinic’s umbrella.

“For years, Mayo had operated a bit like a holding company, with regional groups,” commented Karl Poterack, M.D., Medical Director, Applied Clinical Informatics, in the Office of Information & Knowledge Management at the Mayo Clinic health system.

“There was a recognition that perhaps we could develop [more universal] best practices, and that, when patients with the same symptoms and issues come to different facilities, they should get the same care. So, converging on the same EHR, with the same order sets, the same build, was seen as a way to build convergence.”

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Jun 17, 2021

Peloton vulnerable to cyber attacks, McAfee research finds

cyberattack
fitness
Cybersecurity
verification
2 min
​​​​​​​Software security experts McAfee discovered exercise bikes by Peloton are vulnerable to cyber attacks, which the company have since resolved 

Peloton, the popular exercise bikes, were found to be vulnerable to cyber attacks in the latest research from McAfee. 

Peloton is a brand of electric bikes that combines high end exercise equipment with cutting-edge technology. Its products use wi fi to connect to a large tablet that interfaces with the components of the exercise device, and provides an easy way for physical activity enthusiasts to attend virtual workout classes over the internet several times a week.

Peloton has garnered attention recently around the privacy and security of its products. So McAfee decided to take a look for themselves and purchased a Peloton Bike+.

The problem

Researchers looked at the Android devices and uncovered a vulnerability  that could allow an attacker with either physical access to the Bike+ or access during any point in the supply chain to gain to hack into the bike’s tablet, including the camera, microphone and personal data. 

For the person using it there would be no indication the Bike+ has been tampered with, potentially putting Peloton’s 16.7 million users at risk.  

The flaw was found in the Android Verified Boot (AVB) process. McAfee researchers were able to bypass the Android Verified Boot process, which normally verifies all code and data before booting. They were then able to get the device to boot bypassing this step. 

This could potentially lead to the Android OS being compromised by an attacker who is physically present. Even worse, the attacker could boot up the Peloton with a modified credential to gain privileges, granting them access to the bike remotely. 

As the attacker never has to unlock the device to boot it up, there would be no trace of their access on the device. This type of attack could also happen at any point from construction to warehouse to delivery, by installing a backdoor into the Android tablet without the user ever knowing. 

The solution

Given the simplicity and criticality of the flaw, McAfee informed Peloton while auditing was ongoing. The vendor was sent full details,  and shortly after, Peloton confirmed the issue and released a fix for it. 

Further conversations between McAfee and  Peloton confirmed that this vulnerability had also been present on the Peloton Tread exercise equipment. 

Peloton’s Head of Global Information Security Adrian Stone, commented on the research: “This vulnerability reported by McAfee would require direct, physical access to a Peloton Bike+ or Tread. Like with any connected device in the home, if an attacker is able to gain physical access to it, additional physical controls and safeguards become increasingly important.

"To keep our members safe, we acted quickly and in coordination with McAfee. We pushed a mandatory update in early June and every device with the update installed is protected from this issue.”

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